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Journal Article

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Grande, A, Hoffmann, T., & Glasziou, P. (2014). Searching for randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews on exercise. A descriptive study. Sao Paulo Medical Journal.

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© Copyright, The Authors, 2014

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence 3.0


The current paradigm of science is to accumulate as much research data as possible, with less thought given to navigation or synthesis of the resulting mass, which hampers locating and using the research. The aim here was to describe the number of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews (SRs) focusing on exercise, and their journal sources, that have been indexed in PubMed over time.

DESIGN AND SETTING: Descriptive study conducted at Bond University, Australia. METHOD: To find RCTs, a search was conducted in PubMed Clinical Queries, using the category “Therapy” and the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) term “Exercise”. To find SRs, a search was conducted in PubMed Clinical Queries, using the category “Therapy”, the MeSH term “Exercise” and various methodological filters. RESULTS: Up until 2011, 9,354 RCTs about exercise were published in 1,250 journals and 1,262 SRs in 513 journals. Journals in the area of Sports Science published the greatest number of RCTs and journals categorized as belonging to “Other health professions” area (for example nursing or psychology) published the greatest number of SRs. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews was the principal source for SRs, with 9.8% of the total, while the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise published 4.4% and 5.0% of the RCTs, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: The rapid growth and resulting scatter of RCTs and SRs on exercise presents challenges for locating and using this research. Solutions for this issue need to be considered



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